Tahoe home tips: 6 ways to go green this spring and save money | SierraSun.com

Tahoe home tips: 6 ways to go green this spring and save money

Avis Cherry
Special to the Sun-Bonanza
CFL bulbs use 66% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and last up to 12 times longer.
Getty Images | Digital Vision

It’s never too late to add new practices to our homes and lives that will help save energy, money and the environment!

To help you get started, here are a few simple tips that can have a significant impact on reducing your monthly expenses and at the save time preserve the environment:

1. Make Your Own Cleaning Products: Many cleaning products contain environmental toxins. Making your own cleaning products actually can be easier and cheaper than you think. Some common household products that are used to make environmentally-friendly cleaning products include vinegar, baking soda, lemons and rubbing alcohol. You also can add essential oils for a fresh scent. There are hundreds of sites on the Internet with home cleaner recipes and instructions.

2. Change-Out Light bulbs: Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) use 66% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and last up to 12 times longer. If every family in America replaced just five of their light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), in just one year it would save the same amount of green house gases being emitted by nearly 100 million cars!

3. Eliminate Your Dependency on Bottled Water: Consider investing in a home water filter system rather than continuously buying cases of bottled water. Also, make sure everyone in the household has his or her own designated sustainable water bottle. Plastic isn’t just bad for the planet, it’s also not good for you either. Additionally, many places are now offering water fountain stations where you can refill your personal water bottle for free.

4. Install Energy-Efficient Shower heads: Save 10,000 gallons of water a year by installing energy-efficient shower heads, and taking shorter showers. Not only can you conserve water, but you can save money on your heating bill. Also, attaching low-flow aerators to kitchen and bathroom faucets can save thousands of gallons of water each year, as can converting to low-flow toilets.

5. Get More Heat for Less Money: Adding more attic insulation will provide a return on investment in a matter of months, as will programmable thermostats. Schedule regular maintenance checks on your heating and cooling systems, and consider replacing your furnace if it is ten years or older. New high efficiency gas furnaces reduce heating costs up to 50% (over a heating season).

6. Install Ceiling Fans and Improve Heat and A/C Distribution: Installing ceiling fans can reduce energy costs year-round. Make sure the fans are operating clockwise in the winter to recirculate warm air trapped near the ceiling, and counter-clockwise in the summer. Ceiling fans can save up to 40% in air conditioning costs, and also can lower energy use up to 15% in the winter.

Additionally, encourage others to practice green living as well. Together we can make a lasting, positive difference in our health and environment.

Avis Cherry is President of the Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors and is a Realtor with Charles Kitchen Realty in Carson City. Visit snar.org to learn more.